A guest post by Shannon at Peanut and Sprout
I’m Shannon and you can find me over at peanutandsprout on Instagram (I have a blog by the same name too!), I’m mum to 2 boys and fiancé to Gareth (dad_station4 on Twitter). We live a fairly laid back life and generally follow attachment parenting. Which leads me onto the subject I’ve written about…homeschooling!
Homeschooling just makes sense to us.
I’ve always had a bit of a problem with authority. I know why and I’m OK with it, it doesn’t impact on my everyday life. But the idea of someone telling me what to do, especially now I’m a grown adult (and a mother), sends me into shutdown mode. I literally can’t handle it, it makes me panic. Even when me and my fiancé argue, if he shouts or even raises his voice, the drawbridge goes down, the walls go up and my mind wanders to a happier place until he’s calmed down. Obviously I don’t want to project my own fears and issues onto my boys. I want them to make up their own minds about things, form their own opinions and, above all else, be their own person.
And this is part of the reason for us choosing to home-school.
Throughout my school life, I tried so hard to fit in. We moved around A LOT (I think it was 9 schools in total!) so I had to make new friends every time we moved. And because I was the “new girl”, I didn’t want to draw any unnecessary attention to myself. That meant having to fit in with the “most popular”. This worked quite well until my second from last school. I got in with the wrong crowd and I rebelled. My grades suffered, I ran away from home, I got into many fights (one which ended in me going to hospital) and lots of detentions and isolations. All of that could have been avoided if I had been proud of who I was, stuck to the things that interested me and stuck two fingers up to those that didn’t like it!
I have 2 boys. They are 2 and a half (H) and 5 months (A). It’s sounds silly, talking about schooling when they’re so little but I’d be choosing and applying for H’s school soon, if I hadn’t already. H is a little sponge, he soaks up new information and retains it. He counts way past 200, knows his alphabet, phonics, shapes, colours and even brands of cars! He’s a little comedian and such a performer, he’ll do anything that he knows will make people laugh. I know that sounds really braggy and I am really proud of him but this reiterates my point. What if he went to school and tried to share his love of cars or his desire to make people happy..and he gets shot down? My H, the baby I birthed and raised to be himself for 5 years, might change. All because he wanted to be liked. I couldn’t let that happen to him.
I’m also really keen on letting them learn things they have a genuine interest in. If the boys learn like me, they won’t retain information if they have no interest in it. As I got older, I started to question why I needed to know how to find the area of triangles or how a plant looks under a microscope. Some people may find those interesting and that’s great (if every human was the same, the world would be boring, right?). But I didn’t find it interesting and now, 6 years after leaving school, I don’t remember a lot of the things I was taught. So if the boys want to learn about dinosaurs one day and then move on to Japan (for example) the next, I’m ok with that. It’s all about following their lead. There’s no set curriculum! You can pay for them to sit GCSE’s if you want to and again, these can only be in the subjects they are interested in. And more and more, colleges are taking home educated children based on work they can present to them and not just on a graded exam. This means they can still do A Levels and go onto university..if they want to.
Places like swimming pools, museums and play areas aren’t as crowded during term time so you can take your time and really enjoy the experience. We’ve taken the boys to the aquarium twice during term time. The first time, there was a school trip going on and you couldn’t get near anything. H wanted to touch the starfish but the crowd of children meant he couldn’t. The second time, it was dead. We could let H wander at his own pace, show him everything and answer any question he had. We enjoyed it so much that day, we went back later! Some places will also offer a home education discount so your children get the same opportunities and benefits as mainstream school children.
So those are my reasons for choosing to home-school my boys. I understand that it’s not for everyone but I wanted to write this to show people it’s not the “hippy” way, it’s actually becoming more and more common!